Living the simpElle life: Bal

Spring has sprung, and now is THE time to set goals which we can truly commit to and achieve. Then, what better time to share some inspiration in the form of this mini series – Living the simpElle life – where I talk to someone who has inspired me with their story.

I heard a great phrase last year –

“The Universe is made up of stories, not of atoms”

– so that is what I want to share with you, stories, to open up the Universe to us all!

Each individual we meet embodies what this blog is about. They have dug deep to find motivation, they have sought inspiration and in doing so become inspirational to others. They have been empowered with knowledge to change and that is what their story will do for the rest of us…

Meet: Bal Bangard

I first came to know of Bal in September 2012 when we had both signed up for Run To The Beat (RTTB) (half marathon). Bal was looking for inspiration, but he ended up being my inspiration and motivation to run! After RTTB, Bal had already signed up for another half marathon. I’ve enjoyed following Bal’s journey ever since and knew his story needed to be shared…

– {THEN} – 

Elle: What made you decide to start training / running? …What was your plan / goals?

Bal: I’ve always been training on and off since I was about 17 – nothing serious but at that age the goal was to get as “big” as you could since we all wanted to fill out those extremely tight tops when we went to the nightclubs!

After a long gym lay off, in 2012 I decided I needed to start running in order to get some kind of fitness back. So I did what I knew best at the time – woke up, stuck on some trainers which were totally not designed for running and just ran as fast I could around the park! After about 10 minutes of running I thought was going to die as that’s how unfit I was! However I was so proud of my 1.5km run that I posted it on Facebook telling the world that I ran! It got about 4 likes which made me feel awesome at the time. It was that first run around the park which led to a run down the road, which led to a 10k which then eventually led to a full marathon (26.2 miles) in Paris last year.As the saying goes – It all starts with a single step!

– {HOW} – 

Elle: What’s your favourite way to workout?

Bal: I prefer working out with a training partner as it gives you a chance to be competitive and push each other to the limit as well as have fun.

I also enjoy functional circuit training rather than just weight training or running. I like to vary my sessions and exercises each week as I tend to get bored very easily with just one style of training. And no workout would be right without music – without music there is no workout!

Elle: What’s your typical weekly schedule?

Bal: I tend to get 3 to 4 sessions in each week mixing up compound movements, sprints and functional movements. I always stick with compound movements such as dead-lifts, squats, barbell presses, bench presses as these are the foundation for strength.

I also tend to work a lot of functional movements that help with running such as plyometrics and circuit based training.

Recently I have started doing a lot more calisthenics (body weight) exercises such as pull-ups, dips, handstands – these are great for overall core strength  and have helped massively with my overall training.

Elle: What / who has been your inspiration?

Bal: I get inspiration from EVERYWHERE – childhood icons such as Mike Tyson, modern day athletes such as Usain Bolt & Mo Farrah. These guys are winners and have a ridiculous winning mentality and work ethic which I admire.

I also get inspiration from my training partners – I don’t care if you’re that guy who can only run 1 mile or only lift 10kg – the fact you come back and train week in week out and are improving is an inspiration to me.

There’s huge amounts of inspiration on the internet – just log onto Instagram and you will see some awesome people doing innovative things on a daily basis. I’ll be sitting there late at night watching a video thinking I need to try that exercise first thing in the morning…actually sod it …let me try it right NOW!

Elle: What was the first big difference in you, that made you feel proud and excited?

Bal: Completing my first 10k race made me super proud – at the time I didn’t think it was physically possible for me to run 10k! However I made a plan, I visualized success, put in the graft and the results came. I believe the excitement spurs you onto train harder and achieve more, if there’s no challenge then there really is no chance of growth.

Elle: Did you make any changes to your diet once you started training?

Bal: My diet has certainly been “cleaned” up! Less take-aways and more “real” food.  My diet now mainly consists of  protein (chicken, turkey, tuna), good carbs (sweet potato, brown rice) and vegetables. I always make sure I eat a good breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day.

I don’t count macros, I don’t “diet”, I do cheat often and eat junk but on the whole I tend to eat clean. I truly believe your diet affects your performance – you have to eat right to perform at your best, Give me a cheesecake though and I’ll finish it in 30 seconds flat ☺

– {NOW} – 

Elle: Have your goals changed since you started your journey?

Bal: Absolutely. At first I was purely using weights and trying to pack on size, this would involve training 4 days a week and splitting up body parts. Now my training is more geared to being functional. When running half marathons, marathons or doing obstacle courses such as Tough Mudder I need to ensure I have the endurance as well as the body strength to see me through and hence my training needs to reflect this.

People today like to place you in a certain category and call you a “runner” a “crossfitter” or a “bodybuilder” but I don’t like to shoebox myself into any category as I’m over here trying to do all of those.  Who knows I may even get a bike and do a triathlon next year? that won’t make me a biker though 🙂

Elle: How do you keep yourself motivated?

Bal: I’m a competitor, I love competing and pushing my mind and body to the limit. I’m always looking for the next challenge – either a half marathon, tough mudder or maybe even another full marathon? It’s the next challenge which keeps me focused and motivated with my training.

I also keep a circle of awesome people around me. People, who run marathons, excel in different sports and those who are starting out but give 100% each session. The circle always keeps me motivated and allows us to feed positive energy to each other.

Elle: If you could go back and give advice to the “before” you…or any other person contemplating changing their lifestyle…what would you say?!

Bal: Train your mind first. Once you conquer your mind the body will follow. This applies to any aspect of life – not just training. People underestimate the mental aspect of training – it’s the difference between running 2 miles and 26.2 miles – not your athletic ability. Conquer your mind and you will conquer anything.

..so what d’ya think?! 

If you’d like to leave Bal a comment please do below!

If you would like to share your own story please get in touch with me: {Contact Elle}

Until then, keep living that simpElle life 😉 

Elle 🙂 



  1. Sunny Kalsi
    April 4, 2015 / 18:42

    Having trained and undertaken various events with Bal, I'd say I know Bal somewhat. If the world had more people like Bal, it'd be nicer place. Everyday Superman! Thanks for dragging me around the gym/track/road/mud! Well deserved write up….

  2. Divya @ Eat. Teach. Blog.
    May 12, 2014 / 17:42

    I finally, after so many years of counting calories, have changed my mindset and am sticking to eating clean, eating balanced, and eating mindfully. Loved the read.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read previous post:
Maximise Active Hen Project

A few years ago, I fell off the partying band wagon. I don't know if it was just an age...